Have you ever come back from a vacation and felt you had to go on another vacation to recover from the one you just had? Gay age gap couple Aaron and Mike just returned from 2 ½ weeks in the states and both feel like we need to get away to return to our normal selves. Vacation was great but hardly restful with all we had to do. First we did our annual trip to Scottsdale, Arizona to visit family and then proceeding to check out Palm Springs and Denver as possible places to live one day.
First was a week in Scottsdale, Arizona with the family. I really pity Aaron sometimes when he gets thrown into my family. It’s not small and I am sure not easy for him. He has really only met them two or three times so he is still really only now getting to know them. They are all great but even I have a hard time taking them in large doses of both time and people. It is one thing when there are only 5 or 6 of us together but this is not usually the case. It is more like 14-20 of us all the time.
We arrived in AZ on my younger brothers birthday. The night we arrived, Thursday I wanted Aaron to have a great steak as I am constantly telling him that even the best steak restaurants in Ireland do not compare. I think he now believes me.
The next morning we woke up early as I had a litany of things I had to do before I could feel like our vacation had officially started. My sister-in-law was sweet enough to drop us off at the DMV as I needed a new license and I would not be in NY in time to renew it before it expired. I was a bit nervous about getting it as I do not officially have a home there. Luckily for me I have all my mail sent to my brothers and this was enough to convince them I was a resident. To start the day even better, in NY the renewal fee was $125 while in AZ I only had to pay $25. Anyway we were in and out of there in 20 minutes. I consider that record time for getting a license.
Aaron and I had about 20 minutes to wait before Tracy, (my sister-in-law,) was able to pick us up Not liking to waste any sunshine, coming from Ireland the land of almost no sun I promptly spread myself out on the sidewalk to catch some rays. Aaron being a bit more refined, refused to join me but got a good giggle from my antics.
Next on our list was picking up our rental car which we would be driving to Palm Springs in 6 days time. Aaron was thrilled. Actually I think he got a hard on when we got into our 2023 Dual Challenger, Muscle Car, which supposedly went from 0 to 60 in something like 1.6 seconds. The same thing happened to me in high school when I was 16 and got the last Chevy Camaro Convertible made with a 350 engine and in those days it was considered very fast. The minute I got in the car I had to pull off the road to beat the meat. Joking! These days I don’t get that excited over cars, just the fun we have in them.
Next, I did not drive it to Costco but floored it over to Costco my favorite store in seconds. If you have been reading our blog for a while you will know just how much I love Costco! When we come to the states we have to bring an extra one or two suitcases to get everything I love and can’t get in Dublin. Even the medicines I get in Dublin are 10X less at Costco. You should see what I bring back. I often think of becoming a drug dealer but dread getting stopped by customs. I used to call Costco the $500 dollar store. I would go in for one thing and come come out with a full cart since everything was such a good deal.
Finally, all done, time for vacation. The weather was beautiful and we hightailed it back to the pool for some sun before seeing some of the family. It feels like we are always on the move from one siblings house to another, to either lay at one of their pools, have cocktails at another and dinner at another’s. As I said before there are never less than ten of us and sometimes up to the mid twenties.
Saturday there was the birthday party for my brother and my sister’s partner Ron. It was a surprise birthday and I was in charge making sure my brother was late, luckily this is one of my many talents. It was at an Italian restaurant where the bartender poured drinks that were a bit too strong or in other words the perfect drinks and most of us had hangovers on Sunday. Lucky we had the day to rest before my brother and Tracy, his wife were taking us on a side trip to Tombstone and Bisbee Az.
Both Tombstone and Bisbee are old mining towns in Az. They are about, I believe 250 miles south of Scottsdale. Almost on the Mexican border. Tombstone was once a rich mining town and most famous for the,”Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.” A 1993 movie called, “Tombstone,” was made there, string among others Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliot and Dana Delany. If you have seen the movie I don’t know that it is worth a visit unless you happen to be going to Bisbee which Aaron and I were both glad we able to see.
Bisbee was once a huge prosperous mining town through World War 1, when mining slowed down. Afterwards it became somewhat of a haven for the free spirited who opened many galleries and restaurants, The highlight of Bisbee I thought was the tour of the famous Copper Queen Mine. On the tour which is led by retired workers of the mine you descend 1500 feet underground and they give you great insight into what it was to actually work in the mines, One fact that really surprised me was that they used mules in the mine who were never brought out of the mines for if I remember correctly 4 years. Once they were brought up they were held in dark stables where they eventually had to become acclimated to being in the daylight again. The town itself is quite interesting and you could actually spend two days there investigating, the restaurants, galleries and vintage clothes stores. There are plenty of hotels and B&B’s all inexpensive. It's safe to say I don't think Aaron and I would have made it as miners but then again we do like our role play so that's good enough.
Getting back to Scottsdale I was looking forward to 2 days of pure relaxation and very little family. Of course I woke up Wednesday with the worse flu and was barely able to make it downstairs the next two days. I felt pretty bad for Aaron who was stuck with me or hanging with my family. Next year I have made a vow not to get sick. Despite being with family most of the time I tried making one of Aaron’s fantasies come true, which is eating in all of the fast food restaurants in America. Go figure that is my idea of a nightmare. If I am honest I did find two that I enjoyed. Portillo’s in Scottsdale which has great hot dogs and to my amazement Chick-fil-a which is all across America and has a great chicken sandwich and a few other items and very polite employees. If any of you ever have recommendations of must eat fast food places definitely let Aaron know! This was our second time in Scottsdale and due so many family events we still have not had a chance to investigate Gay Arizona, but Gay Palm Springs here we come, a top city on Aaron’s list of places he has always wanted to visit.
We left Friday and the drive took us about 4 hours. We dropped the car off, were picked up by a friend who lives there and we were off. It was 4 days of fun until we left for Denver on Wednesday. Actually, maybe too much fun.
As usual for us, coming from Ireland the land of not so good weather the first thing we did was get our now slightly tanned bodies out in the sun with some major cocktails in our hand. That night we went to what would become our favorite bar in the desert the Barracks.
The Barracks is not in in Palm Springs proper but about 10-15 minutes away in Cathedral City the neighboring town. It is a large space, part inside and part outside. It is the most popular leather/levi and gear bar around with a DJ and dancing. In the outside part of the bar depending on the night you might find a little or a lot of cruising and the voyeur in you might catch quite a few men having sex. In addition, you have your usual underwear parties and a great Sunday afternoon Beer Bust with a lot of friendly men. The bar is filled with all sorts of men making it all the more interesting. Of course, this is where we spent our Friday and Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. The only other leather/levi bar we found was the Tool Shed but we always seemed to get there too late , probably because we were having too good of a time at the Barracks.
Palm Springs had always been known for being gay friendly and you will not be disappointed. In addition to the Barracks there are many more gay bars. In fact in downtown Palm springs on Arenas Road, called Gay Street by the locals you will find enough bars to keep you busy every happy hour. The bars on this street seemed to be filled by locals looking for happy hours and tourists. Aaron and I spent a few hours relaxing in some of these and they were nice for a little people watching as they all had terraces facing the street. Also on Gay street you will find a few gay clothing stores, however nothing great.
We were so busy most of the time sunning, drinking, eating and seeing the different neighborhoods we really only had time for two touristy things. One was the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway which was great. It is a tram ride along the cliffs of Chino Canyon ending in Mt.San Jacinto State Park. You go up about 6,000 feet, your ears might pop a few times. At the top you can get off and explore the park. It was a great time for us to go since CA had so much snow in the mountains this year the two of us and our friends were able to have a snowball fight. I find it amazing you can be the roasting heat one minute and the nextyou're up on a snow mountain.
Our next big touristy thing was to go out to Desert Hot Springs for massages and the springs. The springs in desert Hot Springs are naturally occurring and sometimes called liquid gold or miracle water because of the natural healing properties they contain that are good for the body. Supposedly they not only detox the body but also help skin conditions like psoriasis, acne and eczema, in addition to helping you relax and sleep better. A word of advice don’t stay in the water too long. They are very hot and idiot me stayed in too long got up, passed out and was lucky Aaron caught me, my knight in shining armour.
As for hotels and food there is something for everyone to all nude hotels, all gay hotels to 5 star spas. You can find any type of accommodation you are looking for. Off season you will see the prices drop dramatically. The same with restaurants, in downtown Palm Springs there are plenty of fun restaurants with great food. We didn’t get a chance to try that many as the friend we were staying with was a great cook and it was just more relaxing dining at his place.
I hadn’t been to Palm Springs for about twenty years and it still had a hold on me. We both loved the beauty of the mountains which seem to tower over you, unlike Scottsdale where they always seem more in the distance and downtown Palm Springs is always a fun to walk and shop through. It has a small town atmosphere that really pulls you in. We were there just as the music festival Coachella started. Unfortunately we did not get tickets. We weren’t aware it was going to be on when we were there and to be honest at about $700 a weekend a bit too expensive. When we realised Charlie XCX was playing we tried to get tickets but dam there were no day tickets. But we had such a good time maybe next year. If you like sun, the desert, fun bars, and good food put it on your list of places not to miss.
On Wednesday we were leaving for Denver to visit old friends It was a day straight from hell. Whatever good luck we had been having ended. Before we took off we had to get on and off the plane 4 times due to the weather in Denver. They said high winds. We finally arrived about 8 hours late. We were visiting friends whose wedding we had been to in Paris the previous year, they had also stopped in Ireland to visit us before they began their honeymoon last July.
Obviously we missed the dinner they had planned for us. So instead it was cocktails, too many and not enough food to keep us sober, Our friends had moved to Denver last year from Montecito, CA. They were thrilled there house was just about finished and we inaugurated their new bar Which in all honesty was actually larger than some of the pubs in Ireland. We did not get to bed until 3:00 AM as our friend Danielle who is a model, who really should have been a comedian kept us in stitches playing the dumb blonde bartender with big tits. I wish I had videos. It was such a great night and made up for the lousy flight.
The next day, Aaron and I slept til 1:00 PM. A combination of the drinks and just being plain exhausted from the good times we had been having in Palm Springs and our flight from hell. I had been excited to show Aaron CO, as I had spent a lot of time there growing up, skiing, going to ranch camp (no not the ones in porno's) and spending time in Aspen during the summer when I love it the most.
That day we drove to one of my favorite places Red Rocks, It is about a 20 minute drive from Denver. Red Rocks is an open air amphitheatre built into a rock formation. I had been to a few concerts there, every great band or performer has probably played there. It is also known for some great hiking. We finished up the night with a dinner at Linger in the Highlands a gay neighborhood. One of the areas our friends wanted to show us incase we decided to move back to the states one day.
On Friday our friends were having a party they said to introduce us to everyone in Denver. I had a good laugh with that one. I think it was really an opportunity to show everyone their new house which they had been working on for about 2 years. Either way it was very sweet and all the guests said she told them she wanted them to meet her good friends. My friends are really great people. Aside from helping around the house before the party we relaxed, playing with our japanese toilet, taking steams and working out in their gym just a bit. Aaron said he felt like he was on an episode of MTV cribs, it was a fun house to relax. Oh, and Aaron got to try another fast food chain that has been on his list, In And Out Burger. His list is gradually getting smaller.
Before we knew it, it was Saturday and we were leaving that evening. That day our friends showed us some more areas they thought we might like. One was another gay area called Cheeseman Park. It is built around an 80 acre park and consists of single family homes, high rises and midrises. The neighborhood I would choose to live in is Cherry Creek. It’s basically a residential neighborhood, with great shopping, restaurants, galleries, cocktail lounges, hotels and anything else you could want. What makes it my favorite is the fact that you could walk or cycle anywhere from there or never leave the area if you didn’t want to. I have always loved living in the center of things and this is it for me. , It is one of the more expensive places for housing in Denver, but after living in Los Angeles, New York and Dublin I was not upset by the prices.
Aaron has always wanted to live in another country. This is one of the reasons we are trying to investigate so many cities in the states. If any of you love where you are and think it is a great city, please let us know. Our next trip to the states will be in a few months. Over and out.